Grateful Dead Live at Capitol Theater on 1971-02-18
Bertha, Truckin', It Hurts Me Too, Loser, Greatest Story Ever Told-> Johnny B. Goode, Mama Tried, Hard To Handle, Dark Star-> Wharf Rat-> Dark Star-> Me & My Uncle
Casey Jones, Playin' In The Band, Me And Bobby McGee, Candyman, Big Boss Man, Sugar Magnolia, Saint Stephen-> Not Fade Away-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away-> Uncle John's Band
Mickey's last show until 10-20-74 - E.S.P. show - Other artist(s): NRPS
-- This is a huge upgrade to all previously circulating sources
-- This is not from the same betty board reels that have circulated since 1986
-- Thanks to David Gans for lending me his Dats
-- Thanks to Joe B. Jones for his help with the pitch correction
Subject: NEDBASE about 2/18/71
Ned plays clavichord and Farfisa organ,with Uni-Vibe (Jerry loaned) and Cry Baby wah-wah (Jerry gift) pedals; Ned played through 2 of Jerry's spare Fender Twin Reverb amps. These had the original tie-dyed speaker covers and were mic'd but because of feedback there was a direct box transformer line output. Ned was surrounded (virtually buried) in baffling, equiment cases and padding by Ramrod (and Jerry) to tame feedback problems from having to mic and amplify the very quiet clavichord.
The afternoon of the concert, backstage during setup, Jerry told Ned he had new songs they had not played before. First he talked through Bertha,then Wharf Rat,which he played for Ned quietly on guitar and singing,showing him the changes (chords) and vocal so he could play it that evening coming out of Dark Star,later Phil came up and talked him through Wharf Rat but with no instruments. He didn't know Jerry had already done it but Ned was happy to have more info Bob asked Ned to sit back for the 1st par of Playin' and the vocals until he got it.
Jerry sometimes fedback through the sounding board and brass strings of Ned's clavichord as did Ned himself
Subject: The Beautiful Jam
Subject: Pigpen on organ
Subject: Great review, made me laugh out loud.
"These WBOTBB sources often come with unusually detailed lineage descriptions ("I plugged into the wall outlet using the overhand method and here is the metallic composition of the joist hangers in that wall"), I guess for the pedigree geeks amongst us (and Golden Ear claimants). "
Subject: Ned Lagin
Subject: More interesting than the more-famous following night?
This show attracts interest for 3 reasons:
+the premiering, in rudimentary versions, of 3 1/2 new songs that would become classics (they were excited enough to replay these each night)
+being the show were Mickey decided to tell the boys he was leaving - his next show after this being in Oct '74
+The 1st (oldest) Betty Board
Because the following night (premieres of Bird Song and Deal) is represented on Three from the Vault it may be more familiar, but this show is at least as good. This is one of those runs where everybody has their favorite but for then-unexpected turns, and the classic drum sound on these early versions, this would be the interesting night (and since they were carting around an 8track machine for the makings of the Skull Fuck LP, shouldn't there be another vault release from this run?). The end of the run is more accomplished (try the 21st) but this show is sought for historical appeal.
Bertha - you gotta ask - how did it come off so well? Or maybe, why didn't they nail new songs in the 90s as quickly as in '71??
Loser - Sounds different with Pig on vox. It would be released on Garcia's solo LP a year later
Greatest Story - Still in brief form
Johnny B - They had premiered this a couple weeks earlier (but everybody plays this at band practices and such)
Wharf - premiered in the middle of a Dark Star - started as a one chord drone and remained that way (though it wouldn't sound like this after Feb), so not a lot could be done with this song, but on this version it's the tranny back to Dahk Stah where things get cool (an excerpt of this one is on So Many Roads as "Beautiful Jam").
St Stephen - Isn't this the final shot from Mickey's toy cannon?
Not Fade>UJB - Check this tranny
Collectible because, though there are not any single standout A+ versions, the show is interesting for context. So, while not for new converts, it's solid enough to not be for historical-collectors-only. 1st set above average for '71, 2nd set typical for '71.
Set 1: B-
Set 2: C
Overall - 3 stars (2 1/2 plus 1/2 for historical interest)
Dark Star>Wharf>Dark Star>Uncle - Unusual 1st set sequence creates a changng atmosphere
Candyman - A great version. There was a period where the band could harmonize
Sources: 4 SBD sources to pick from. This is another classic show that came into broader circulation in '96 at the tail of the cassette age, and then to wider awareness with the "What became of the Betty Boards" project in the CD age, which resourced from the Betty>DAT transfer. These WBOTBB sources often come with unusually detailed lineage descriptions ("I plugged into the wall outlet using the overhand method and here is the metallic composition of the joist hangers in that wall"), I guess for the pedigree geeks amongst us (and Golden Ear claimants). The Port Chester (pronounced like Dorchester) run represents the earliest complete Bettys and, with modern digital tools, intermodular distortion and frequency anomalies can be zeroed in and excised without nasty degradation within the shoulders of those spectra; gotta love those narrow notch filters! The earliest circulating fragments from this show, in the late 80s, were low gen with noise, transient peak and pitch problems - just like most of the stuff we listened to in the 80s! How lucky we are to have the show underneath revealed. Three sources have dealt with those anomalies with slightly different digital tools and though they all sound great, albeit with resulting different sonic characteristics, I'm going with the Miller for best dynamics overall. 85478 & the Orf source don't offer the stereo image I like. Though the latter should be the most accurate technically, the Miller111793 has the more comfortable, puts-you-there full sound with just the right amount of EQ and separation, even though it may not address every crackle and squelch.
tl;dr: The Miller sounds amazing & nothing like the fragments that circulated all those years ago that tainted much of '71!
Subject: CREAM of the CREAM of the CREAM
The energy of this show is just UNREAL.
And this is the version you want to listen to -- Charlie Miller -- he just makes everything sound so much better than anyone else -- and he is a really great guy for sharing his efforts with all of us.
Oh the MIX, the MIX . . . . let's just say it ain't horrible. Just great fidelity and a truly great mix-- absolutely everyone comes through completely clearly-- just about as good a mix as anything you will hear -- and AMAZING fidelity for such an old show.
DO NOT MISS THIS ONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES -- OTHER GRATEFUL DEAD STUFF IS AS GOOD, BUT CONSIDERING THIS SHOW START TO END, IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER.
An absolute dream for all of us old cassette tape collectors to have this kind of stuff available.
From the Vault Volume 3 was the next night. Why, oh why, haven't they done this night too???????????
Just everything in this show is just totally slamming.
Dick's Picks Vol. 11 was Sept. 27, 1972 -- Stanley Theater, Jersey City. Freaking Amazing. But, why, oh why, haven't they done September 28, 1972, Stanley Theater, Jersey City too????????
Nevermind-- just listen to this -- it is a religious experience . . . .
Read Evan S. Hunt's review below -- he knows his stuff and said it much better than I did.
Subject: time machine
"Oh, that's just gorgeous.... Aw, that, that --- I'm sorry, that just, that brought tears to my eyes."
Subject: Port Chester Rocks
Set 1 has some of the best highlights - the messy, exciting Bertha absolutely smolders, and the wooden-guitar Greatest Story > JBG is another hot ticket. The DS > WR > DS > Uncle has been written about so often I think there isn't much more to add - it's a true-blue classic jam and just *essential* Dead listening.
The rest of the set either suffers from feedback (Truckin') or a rather indifferent band at the helm, or a combination of the two.
Set 2 - One lone recommendation here: Sugar Magnolia. The band suddenly feels like they've been electrified by some kind of Martian zap-gun - totally and completely awesome.
But again, the rest is just kind of blah...if it doesn't gel it isn't aspic, and I like sticking with the great of this rather than forcing it. To each his own on this one, yo -
...and as always, thank you to Mr. Miller for the upgrade - sounds much better than I remember it from years past -
Subject: Firsts -
Subject: Great upgrade, Mr. Miller!
Subject: Yes, They Really Played This Fast
Back in 71 the GD played a song like Bertha with all dispatch. They were still somewhat in 1969 mode. Later in the 90's the band had slowed Bertha down. I much prefer this peppier version.
The organ you hear on this is Ron McKiernan aka Pigpen. This is the six man power band they had become when Mickey joined in 1967. After this night they were the five man power band of old once again. It lasted until the fall when Keith was asked to join.
Pigpen had gotten the hint from the band that he needed to buck up on his organ playing and had attempted to improve himself as a keyboardist. It was too little too late. When they started out as the Warlocks Pig's keys consisted of the newly marketed Vox organ which was relatively easy to play. When the GD invited T.C. to play keys it ignominiously relegated Pig to playing congas.
Garcia later admitted that he was impetuously wrong about dismissing Pig as a "too predictable" organist. He was not, but he was not as good as T.C. and so he took a back seat.
Finally, in Feb of 70, T.C. bowed out gracefully and left the keyboard spot to Pigpen. Ron tried very hard to learn the Hammond B-3 and actually did a pretty passable job on it until his fade-out in 1972. The B-3 is a challenge.
I absolutely adore the lengthy tuneups between songs which were the earmark of their early days. It lent a breathiness to their sets that became nonexistent when they morphed into the quintessential "orchestra" band of the 90's. Ah, you may like ballpark rock, but give me the small movie theater any day. ANY day.
This is a wonderfully exempliary foray into the funky excellence of all things Grateful Dead.
This show is beautifully recorded and presented. The performances are lively and innovative.
20 out of 5 stars.
Subject: This has a famous jam in it,
Subject: one show down and another to go...
Subject: Historic, Not Great
The jam out of Wharf Rat is awesome, and the rest of the first set is really good (minus Mama Tried).
Set 2 is only average until NFA> GDTRFB> NFA and Uncle John's.
Subject: Thank you Charlie
This is the last year of top-shelf Grateful Dead - Ron's last year of good health. And his organ is certainly a 'notable presence' on Truckin'.
Is that Pigpen's keyboard on Casey Jones (and elsewhere)? I'm starting to become suspect of that electric piano!
Subject: Did they really play this fast?
This entire run of Port Chester shows is great listening. Pig Pen still a notable presence on the organ. From a historical perspective well worh a listen. 5 out of 5 stars
Subject: Historic Show
The show for me was a bit hit and miss but overall it's high energy and compact (few lengthy jams). Probably a great place to start someone new to the Dead.
The GSET is interesting and was obviously a work in progress. The DS>Wharf Rat>DS is beautiful - don't let the shortness of this DS fool you, they take it into space and back.
Subject: Damn Charlie Miller
Subject: 2-18-71 - 2-18-11 40 years ago today.
Tx, Fat Man. R.I.P.
Subject: dark star
Subject: Very nice Upgrade !
Subject: Thanks *Again* Dr. Miller
Excellent show, Better sound-ESP show! I can see the chakras spinning whenever I listen to this show.
Thanks to the PTB & for PiTB. Hope others enjoy as much as I am!